My recent body of work from 2017 investigates the point at which beauty transfigures into the sublime and touches on something central to our existence. In regards to aesthetics and art, the sublime describes a greatness beyond all possibility whether moral, intellectual, spiritual, or artistic. The sublime often inspires awe and elevates the viewer above the mundane of daily life. Great art can “shock us” awake, like a jolt of lightening. It lures us with beauty and moves us spiritually.
A sublime experience can instill a mix of terror and awe. A great example would be the realization of how small earth is in the vastness of space, therefore, how incredibly trivial we are in perspective to the universe. It is both a beautiful and terrifying thought. Beauty brings us pleasure but the sublime taps into our mortality. For me, the sublime is a form of beauty that transcends time and elevates the mind and spirit. It is art of contemplation that deepens the mystery of our existence.
The work featured, in order from top to bottom:
Oil on Panel, 24x30"
Just like the Butterfly, I too will awaken in my own time. - Deborah Chaskin
Cocoon is about the transformation and challenges we face throughout adulthood. Metamorphosis is the perfect metaphor for the change and growth that springs from experiencing adversity and discomfort as we pass through the many phases of our life. Sometimes, we must be patient and allow ourselves to feel things deeply, however painful, so that it may transfigure us into more compassionate, kind and beautiful souls. Sometimes we are laid to bare. We are naked and vulnerable to what life has thrown our way. What we choose to do with that pain is what defines our future. And if we are humbled and accept the inevitable change within us, there is hope that we, like the butterfly, will awaken more beautiful than before.
Charcoal and Gesso on Panel, 24x48"
The approach of night
the skies blushing with departing light
when falling dews with spangles deck'd
The Glade, and the low sun lengthened every shade
-Alexander Pope Pastorals:Autumn line 98.
This drawing aims to capture the sublime experience and feminine connection to nature. I juxtaposed her against a wild and unruly bramble of fallen trees and thick grasses. She is quiet and contemplative, soft, delicate but strong and poised. As a female artist, my portrayal of women is a direct link to my own experiences as a woman. Women have (historically) been painted from the voyeuristic gaze of a male artist, often displayed as an object of desire. I find myself drawn to the inner strength of women and celebrate feminine beauty. I have always associated the female psyche with nature and I have noticed it as a common thread throughout my body of work. Perhaps it stems from my desire to find stillness as external forces and demands of modern life pull me further from it.
Oil on Panel, 11x14"
Approaching Storm is a painting about the unknown adversities that many young women face navigating modern life. Portraying my niece as the subject, she looks toward the light without fear of the approaching storm. The message for this painting is a simple one: hope for a brighter future exists if we stay focused while we weather the storm.